10 THE COURIER SUN • DECEMBER 31, 2015 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.qns.com 12 times • DECEMBER 31, 2015 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.QNS.com editorial sun WWW.COURIERSUN.COM Font: Engravers Old English Normal VICTORIA SCHNEPS-YUNIS JOSHUA A. SCHNEPS BOB BRENNAN ROBERT POZARYCKI AMY AMATO-SANCHEZ NIRMAL SINGH ALAN SELTZER STEPHEN REINA RON TORINA, JENNIFER DECIO, CHERYL GALLAGHER KATRINA MEDOFF, ANTHONY GIUDICE, ANGELA MATUA, ALINA SURIEL CLIFF KASDEN, SAMANTHA SOHMER, ELIZABETH ALONI DEMETRA PLAGAKIS WARREN SUSSMAN CELESTE ALAMIN MARIA VALENCIA VICTORIA SCHNEPS-YUNIS JOSHUA A. 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SNAPS QUEENS QUEENS ZOO // PHOTO BY MICHELLE LONG Send us your photos of Queens and you could see them online or in our paper! Submit them to us via our Instagram @queenscourier, Facebook page, tweeting @queenscourier or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (subject: Queens Snaps). IN LIGHT OF THE RECENT EVENTS, DO YOU BELIEVE THE U.S. GOVERNMENT SHOULD EXPAND ITS GUN LAWS? “I think it’s the person that does the act of killing, not the gun itself. I don’t think things will change if the government expands its gun laws.” Anokhi Sachder “I think there should be more background checks and that the government should also consider the psychological aspect and where someone lives.” Tariq Llmohamed “I think it should be much harder to get a gun.” Amore Laucella “It should be harder and the process should be as long as having a drive license.” Meghan Opperman BY IRENE SPEZZAMONTE “I don’t think everyone should get a gun. The thing that everyone can get a gun makes me nervous.” Drew Matarazzo street talk “I think there should be more background checks.” Agatha Argyros “I think the government should look for the mental health conditions. There shouldn’t be any types of regulation. It’s more about the person.” Victor Garcia “I think it should not. It won’t change anything.” Rajwinder Gill Is Flushing Meadows music fest worth it? With apologies to Abraham Lincoln, the parks of New York City are “of the people, by the people, for the people.” They are the playgrounds for those who lack backyards, shade for residents whose streets lack trees, welcome greenspaces in a city dominated by concrete and asphalt. Two entertainment giants are looking to hold massive music festivals at Flushing Meadows Corona Park this June. Choosing one over the other, or choosing to hold a festival in the park at all, are just some of the many questions being raised. Festival organizers each want to close a huge portion of this borough’s most heavily used park on a late spring/early summer weekend. Thousands of people from across the region would converge on Flushing Meadows via public and private transportation. Where will these people stay? Where will they go after the concerts are over? How many police offi cers will be pulled from our precincts to help keep everything orderly? Who is going to pay for accommodating this festival — the taxpayers or the organizers?Beyond that, what would the thousands of families and friends who would otherwise use the park do if Flushing Meadows is closed for an entire, hopefully beautiful weekend in the summer? Can they all afford to take a vacation elsewhere? Certainly not. Undoubtedly, for many of these families, a trip to Flushing Meadows is the closest thing to a vacation that they’ll have all year. Some lawmakers have already come out in support of one festival organizer or the other, speaking about how it would be an economic boon for Queens and its many communities. While we don’t doubt that to be the case, Queens’ representatives and the city government must very carefully weigh each proposal and determine whether either of them is worth shutting down an entire park — and shutting out local residents — for an entire weekend. If festival organizers want a big show in Flushing Meadows, they must provide a plan that respects the park and its people. If they can’t make that effort, then they should hold their festival someplace else. Give state lawmakers full-time status Members of New York State’s Assembly and state Senate should be made full-time employees of the state, and given a pay increase refl ective of that status. Sounds nuts, right? After all, in recent years, a parade of Albany lawmakers — including two of its longtime leaders in former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos — have been froglegged to federal prison on an assortment of public corruption charges. Why reward the members of two legislative bodies with a reputation for bad behavior and doing little more than talking about cleaning things up? Because our proposal isn’t a reward at all. It’s a means to justify keeping state lawmakers from embarking on self-serving endeavors at the expense of the people they supposedly represent. Part-time status for New York’s legislative members enables public corruption in our state. It enabled former Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio to start a consulting fi rm to accept kickbacks; former Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin to use his offi ce at the Central Labor Council to steal public funds; former state Senator Shirley Huntley to use a charity she controlled to embezzle state funds; and Silver to use his affi liation at a law fi rm to solicit illegal payments in exchange for political favors. These crooks double-dipped between the public and private coffers for personal profi t. State lawmakers must be made accountable to the people of New York again. 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